UPDATE May 2016: Please note that this post was written in 2013. For 2016, this 100-year-old farm is still offering an amazing (FREE) playground, pick-your-own fruit (starting with strawberries), an opportunity to see farm animals, and a great farm store. Be sure to check their website and Facebook page for the latest farm store hours and pick-your-own offerings.
This week’s outing took us to March Farm located in Bethlehem, Connecticut.
I had heard about this destination through a friend (Hi Andrea!) who was raving about their amazing play area. She had shown me pictures and it did look pretty fabulous, so I really wanted to check it out.
The day I wanted to go, it was also peach picking season at the farm and we are a peach loving family! So a combined visit to a new farm, a morning of playing on a cool playground and a peach picking session sounded like a great morning out.
Because I hate doing anything alone, I roped a friend into meeting us at the farm (Hi Sarah!)
Like most destinations in this part of the state, I heavily relied on my GPS to get me to the right place. There were a few strange twists and turns along the way, but we easily made it using my trusty traveling device.
Upon arriving at the farm, we immediately saw a sign for PYO & Playscape parking and made a beeline for a parking place. I unloaded the kids from the car and made my way past the main farm building down to the play area at the bottom of the hill.
Now, to get from the designated parking area down to the play area was a bit of a walk and we did have to walk on the side of the road (though it wasn’t busy). Next time I go, I would use the parking area next to the play area. But more details on that further on in the post.
Enough of my rambling about parking, look at this cute play area!
For some reason, I never took a good bird’s eye view of this spot, but you can find some great additional pictures, here.
Good thing my lack of big picture shots was made up for with a ridiculous number of detailed pictures. I won’t bore you. Let me give you the overview.
The play area is rather large and looks fairly new.
Surrounding the whole thing was a 450-foot tricycle track.
The kids could select from a large variety of ride on toys and take one for a spin. None of my munchkins actually made it completely around the track, but if they had, there was a handy sign letting us know that 14 laps would equal a mile.
Inside the race track there was even more fun for the little ones.
They had these amazing playhouses that had the kids completely entertained. Who wouldn’t be? I want one in our backyard!
Then, as I’m sure you noticed, there was a large sand play area right in the center. This kept Bruiser and Sweetheart rather busy.
Right smack dab in the middle of the play area was a large, covered pavilion filled with picnic tables.
Moms with small babies were hanging out there to stay out of the sun while their other children played. This was also a prime spot come lunchtime.
On the other side of the pavilion were port-a-potties (an important landmark for all you moms tackling potty training) and a playscape.
I mean have you seen a more entertaining farm play area? This place was the bomb.
Now, if you decide to take your little one to this amazing play destination and think it is the bomb too, you might consider bringing a few bucks with you to donate to the cause. While it is technically a free, fun destination, they do have a little donation box set up in the pavilion and I’m sure they would appreciate any amount you were willing to contribute.
But wait, I’m not done.
Right across the street from the play area was the “Pondside Animal Yard”. Basically, a small area where the kids could see cows, goats, sheep and a few other farm animals. Nothing major, but a fun stop on the farm tour.
Oh and we found a little time to snap some pictures of us moms with our little ones. It was my friend’s idea. I guess she had read this post 🙂
After getting our peach picking accessories, they pointed us in the direction of the picking area and warned us that it was about a 1/2 mile walk round-trip.
No biggie. That didn’t scare us.
We loaded some of the kids into strollers and headed back down the hill towards the playscape. We needed to cross the street and head down a dirt path that looped around the pond.
So far so good.
As we headed past a little bridge and continued toward the peaches, I noticed a few people had parked their strollers at the bottom of the hill.
Interesting. We continued on.
Then I saw it. Yikes. A huge hill. I mean this thing was seriously steep and deceptively long.
Surprisingly, we still weren’t fazed. I mean I’m training for the Hartford Half Marathon and my friend is a great athlete. We could do this.
But, as I pushed that jogging stroller up the hill, I just kept wishing I had left it at the bottom.
We kept going, though. My legs were killing me but we finally made it to the top. I was sooooo tired. These pictures don’t do it justice.
Lesson learned. Don’t do what we did. Leave the stroller at the bottom of the hill, bring a carrier for the baby, and take a leisurely hike up to the peach picking area.
BTW, the two-year olds were perfectly fine walking. No problems there.
After we got to the top, I realized the view and the peaches made the pain worth it.
We found the marked area and got to work gathering yummy fruit. The kids had a blast.
It didn’t take long to fill up our bag.
Now, one thing I wish I had brought with me was a bag for my bag of peaches. A bag for a bag? That sounds excessive. But it would have been nice to place the peaches in a little tote that I could throw over my shoulder and head back down the hill. I ended up squeezing the peaches in the stroller with Sweetheart which wasn’t the best scenario, but it worked.
The two-year-olds had a ton of fun making their way back down the giant hill.
Once at the bottom, we stopped at the play area for lunch in the pavilion and a little more playtime before packing up to head home. Peaches were definitely on the lunch menu, the kids couldn’t resist.
Oh and you remember I mentioned that there was a better parking area down near the playscape. Here is a picture of the spot. See how much more convenient it is? Definitely the spot to check out first.
When we were ready to go, it was back up the hill past the farm store and to the area where we parked. As you can tell from this post, walking shoes are definitely a must for this farm visit (though they are a must for most farm visits).
We had such an amazing time at March Farm enjoying the play area, visiting with the animals and picking peaches. My kids were completely worn out and ready for a nice nap during the car ride home.
I was so happy that I’d finally gotten a chance to check out this great kid-friendly destination and I was even happier when I found out that there is even more farm fun happening there over the next few weeks. Check here and here for all the details, but below is a quick rundown:
- Pick your own (PYO) apples begins tomorrow, Friday, September 6th
- Weekend hayrides to the corn maze begin Saturday, September 14th from 11 am to 5 pm. The hayrides are $2 per person and the maze is $5 per person.
- The 10th Annual Apple Festival will be held at the farm on Sunday, September 29th. It will include food, music, craft vendors and kids activities.
There is a lot going on at March Farm over the next few months. I highly recommend a visit!
Have you been? Tell us about your visit in the comments section below.
Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Activities include: a play area, animal yard and pick your own fruit
- Plenty of free parking. There are three lots available: a small one right next to the play area, a large one at the top of the hill, and one in front of the farm store (though they are reserved for people shopping in the store)
- A farm store is available for the purchase of fruits, vegetables, drinks, and yummy treats.
- VERY family-friendly; we saw lots of little kids running around or riding in strollers.
- If you have little ones, I would recommend bringing a stroller. You may not need it, but it might be helpful for getting them from place to place on the farm.
- A baby carrier would also be a great option if you have an infant. It is probably the best option if you are hiking up the hill to pick peaches (don’t try and push your stroller up there, it is too steep)
- Cash and most major credit cards are accepted for purchasing goods from the store or for prepaying for the pick your own bags (Please note: American Express is NOT accepted). Cash is accepted for donations towards the play area.
- If you are doing PYO, you will need to prepay for the fruit you pick. Just head to the farm store and purchase the bag size that works for you.
- You may want to bring a tote to help carry the picked fruit. They provide you with a small tote, but it would have helped me to have one I could place that in and throw over my shoulder.
- Bring comfortable shoes. You will do a good bit of walking.
- There is a covered seating area near the playscape, but the rest of the play area and farm is in the sun, so dress accordingly and bring sunblock.
- Check their website and Facebook page for updates on what fruits are currently available for picking and what additional activities are happening on the farm.
- Port-a-potties are available near the play area. I did not see a baby changing area.